Ideas and Society in 2018


The “third wave” of the great but still incomplete feminist revolution began half a century ago. Last year a new frontier erupted spontaneously. Global wide and driven by social media, the #MeToo movement targeted the predatory sexual behaviour of men, especially but not only the rich and famous, towards which the cultures of Western nations had for so long turned a blind eye. At the same time, some feminists turned their attention to another equally pressing but all too often overlooked question—the precarious situation of older, single women. Among non-indigenous Australians, it is this group that sits uncomfortably at the very bottom of the socio-economic ladder.

Jane Caro, an award winning Australian columnist and feminist, joins in conversation with Anne Manne, one of Australia's most penetrating cultural critics, exploring the unfinished feminist revolution.

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La Trobe alumnus, Tim Flannery, a distinguished mammologist and palaeontologist but also a world-renowned writer, is the natural scientist who has been leading the struggle in Australia for many years, presently as the head of the Climate Council. Robyn Eckersley, a professor at the University of Melbourne, is probably the most significant political scientist in Australia who has been thinking creatively about solutions to the “super-wicked” problem of climate change.

As part of its “A Better Australia?” series, La Trobe University’s Ideas and Society Program has brought them together to consider from their different disciplinary perspectives the kind of problem climate change poses and how solutions to it might be found. The questions they will be considering include: What does the international community need to do now if the threat posed by climate change is to be averted? What are the principal roadblocks in the way? What has been Australia’s contribution to the global struggle so far? Why has that contribution appeared to so many Australians to have been so shamefully inadequate?

The basic science of climate change has been settled for very many years. The political solution seems as far away as ever. Watch the conversation below.

Bendigo Writers Festival is a premier event on the Victorian cultural calendar, attracting local and international authors of standing across a wide range of fiction and non-fiction genres. As a key partner and sponsor, La Trobe University makes a strategic, programming and educational contribution to the festival.

Robert Manne’s writing has been reinvigorated and his love of life intensified, despite his sharpened understanding that we are all living on “borrowed time”. Robert talks with Jeff Sparrow about the importance of personal and social values.

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In this episode from our Ideas and Society program we hear from a former Prime Minister, and the most senior public servant who worked with him, as they discuss the challenges and rewards of political life and public policy.

Eight years after he was deposed as Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd speaks with Terry Moran the then-Secretary of the powerful Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet.

It is the first time both leaders publicly discuss their challenges in government, and reflect on the obstacles to bold policy reform from the complementary - but contrasting - perspectives of mandarin and politician.

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Noel Pearson, who some regard as our nation’s most original thinker, and Megan Davis, a distinguished younger Indigenous leader who will outline prospects for long-delayed Indigenous constitutional recognition.

Noel Pearson is a lawyer, Indigenous leader, public intellectual and a 30 year advocate of the benefits of education, self-help and the engagement of Indigenous Australians in a global economy.

Professor Megan Davis is an academic, constitutional lawyer and author. She is Pro Vice-Chancellor (Indigenous) at the University of New South Wales and an expert member of the United Nations Human Rights Council's Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

This conversation took place close to the one year anniversary of the 2017 First Nations National Constitutional Convention, which led to the creation of the 'Uluru Statement From the Heart'.

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In this episode from our Ideas and Society program, two giants of human rights, Gillian Triggs and Julian Burnside, discuss human rights in Australia as part of the 2018 'A Better Australia?' series.

Gillian Triggs is a distinguished international lawyer and former president of Australia’s Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission. Gillian is currently the Chair of Justice Connect, an organisation which provides free legal help to people locked out of the justice system.

You will also hear from Julian Burnside, a Melbourne based Barrister and a well-known advocate for asylum seekers. He is former president of Liberty Victoria, and the recipient of several awards including the Sydney Peace Prize and the Order of Australia.

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In this episode from our Ideas and Society program, Australia’s Minister for Foreign Affairs and Deputy Leader of the Federal Liberal Party, Julie Bishop. She’ll speak on the challenges, nuances and goals of diplomacy in the Asia-Pacific region and her commitment to the international rule of law.

Following her address, there’s a panel discussion with award-winning journalist and La Trobe University Vice-Chancellor’s Fellow Tony Walker, also the Director of the Bachelor of International Relations and the Lecturer in Politics, Media and Philosophy at La Trobe Dr Bec Strating and the Head of La Trobe Asia and the School of Humanities and Sciences Professor Nick Bisley.

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In this episode from our Ideas and Society program, a discussion on why Australia has been failing to fulfill its regional and global humanitarian obligations; part of the 2018 'A Better Australia' series.

We feature Tim Costello, Head of World Vision Australia, as he discusses the aid sector in 2018 and explores some of the humanitarian challenges facing the Asia pacific region.

Mr Costello is joined by Executive Director of the Brotherhood of Saint Lawrence, Conny Lenneberg.

The discussion is facilitated by respected ABC radio broadcaster Jon Faine.

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